The new findings were released by the International Schools Database, which analysed the worldwide price data from 73 cities in 50 countries.
The aim of the database is to “allow parents to find, research and compare international schools in cities across five continents”.
“Just four countries are represented among the top 10 most expensive cities for international education - USA, China, Switzerland and South Korea. All of the top 10 are cities with notoriously high costs of living, including New York City, San Francisco, Zurich and Shanghai,” explained the report.
“Europe has the widest range of international school fees in the world. In our results of 73 cities, European cities appear among both the most expensive and the cheapest cities in the world for international education,” the report also noted.
“Asia’s domination as the most expensive region in the world for international school fees is mostly due to China, which is notoriously expensive for international schooling. Most other Asian cities have an even spread of expensive, cheap and ‘middle of the road’ international school prices,” the report added.
“On that note, despite having 5 cities within the top 10 most expensive places for international education, Asia also has some more affordable options too. Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for example, is the 3rd cheapest city for international school fees in our database.”
Specifically regarding Asia, the report noted, “It may be the most expensive country in the world for international school fees, but there is a surprising range of prices on offer in China. In Shanghai, prices range from over $40k per year for international schools at the top end of the scale to just over $5k per year for international schools at the bottom end. Shenzhen is similar with the maximum international school fees at $36k per year and minimum international school fees of less than half of that, at $12k per year.
“Vietnam’s Hanoi and HCMC [Ho Chi Minh City] are two surprising additions to the top 10 most expensive cities for international school fees, given the country’s low cost of living compared with the rest of the top 10 cities. This might be a hint that Vietnam’s economy is thriving, that it’s number of expats is ever increasing, and its reputation as a South East Asian hub is growing.
“Non-capital cities in Asia can offer much more affordable international school prices than other, bigger cities. For example, Bangkok’s international school prices reach up to $31k per year, while just a few hours down the coastline Pattaya’s maximum price is just shy of $19k,” the report added.
“Overall, Asia is one of the most expensive regions for international education in the world, with median prices reaching $20k per year or above in 6 different cities,” the report concluded.
Phuket ranked 50th most expensive out of 73 locations surveyed, with a minimum price of $4,558, a median price of $8,554 and a maximum of $21,169 (all prices expressed in US dollars).
Bangkok ranked much higher, 21st most expensive in the world, with a minimum price of $2,550, a median of $15,060 and a maximum price of $31,044.
Globally, the most expensive cities for international schools were ranked New York City, Beijing, Shanghai, San Francisco Bay Area, and Zurich taking the top five places, respectively.
Lausanne - Vaud, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Geneva and Seoul rounded out the top 10, in that order.
Singapore ranked 12th most expensive city in the world, just behind London.
“To calculate the prices of international schools, we used the whole price of a full term for one 6-year old child, excluding once-off costs such as enrollment fees, application fees, etc and not including free schools. Only those cities with 7 or more international schools, and with prices publicly available representing at least 25% of the schools in the city, were used in this article,” the report noted in explaining its methodology.
“All prices were converted from the local currency into USD using the exchange rate valid on November 19, 2020. Prices for schools used in this research were gathered on the same date. There may be additional international schools in the cities discussed in this research that have not been included, because their data was not made available to us,” the report added.